While we’re out enjoying the sunshine with our pets, fleas and ticks are quietly making the most of the season as well. While these little blood suckers can strike in any weather, the warmer weather in Australia seems to bring with it an increase in parasite infestations. Soft fur makes your pet a perfect nesting ground and source of food for both fleas and ticks.
While they’re known for the irritating itch, flea and tick bites can cause our pets to suffer with severe health problems, like anaemia and blood borne diseases. An infestation is a painful and distressing experience for our furry friends, and it’s up to us to protect them.
Fleas are tiny jumping insects that feed off the blood of mammals and birds. Their bite can cause allergic reactions, and if severe can lead to anaemia. Fleas can transmit serious blood borne diseases, such as myxomatosis and even typhus, as well as other parasites, like tapeworms.
The Symptoms of a Flea Infestation:
When fleas are present, you might notice their droppings on your pet’s skin or in their coat. These will look similar to small grains of dirt.
Fleas themselves are not always visible, but they most commonly gather on your pet’s belly, shoulders, and at the top of their tail.
If your pet is allergic to flea saliva, they may scratch, lick, or bite at the inflamed skin.
Your pet may have itchy red bites, scabs, hot spots, hair loss, or dermatitis.
If your furry friend has a severe flea infestation, they may have pale gums as a result of flea bite anaemia.
Ticks are small mites with a nasty bite. They can carry dangerous diseases and transmit them to humans and animals, like lyme disease and encephalitis. Ticks latch onto their host to feed on their blood, and, just like a flea infestation, this can lead to anaemia. Some ticks have toxic saliva which can cause tick paralysis, a dangerous and sometimes deadly condition.
The Symptoms of a Tick Bite:
- Localised irritation around the tick bite area, resulting in scratching, licking, and chewing
- Fever, loss of appetite, pain, lethargy, and depression
- Weakness and unsteadiness
- Complete or partial paralysis
There are a variety of flea and tick prevention options available, and your vet can help you to choose the best one to protect your furry friend. If you think your pet might have fleas or ticks, or you have any other concerns, please book an appointment with your vet.